Beecham (pharmaceutical company)

Beecham (pharmaceutical company)

Beecham was a British pharmaceutical company. Following mergers in the late 20th century, it is now part of GlaxoSmithKline.


Beecham was the family business of Thomas Beecham (1820–1907), a chemist. He was the grandfather of the conductor also named Thomas Beecham (1879–1961). As a boy, he worked as a shepherd, selling herbal remedies as a sideline. He then started as a travelling salesman or peddler; subsequent success enabled him to open a shop in Wigan.

Their first product was Beecham's Pills, a laxative, in 1842.

Beecham opened its first factory in St. Helens, Lancashire, for the rapid production of medicines in 1859. Under Thomas' son, Sir Joseph Beecham, 1st Baronet (1848–1916), the business expanded, but remained a patent medicine company and engaged in little research.

Beecham bought companies for various products, adding the Lucozade glucose drink and Macleans toothpaste to its product chain in 1938. By buying another company the following year, it added hair products for men.

In 1943, it decided to focus more on improving its research and built Beecham Research Laboratories. In 1944, the company was named Beecham Group Ltd.

In 1945, Beecham Research Laboratories Ltd. operated from Brockham Park, Surrey. By the mid-1950s, the group comprised some 100 smaller companies, including a large wholesale grocery business that was later sold off.

In the 1950s to 1960s, Beecham, in consort with Bristol-Myers, developed penicillin derivatives: first pheneticillin, then the more potent methicillin (Celbenin). Later, these were followed by Ampiclox and others as the group focused on pharmaceutical development.

In 1953, it bought C.L. Bencard, which specialized in allergy vaccines. In 1957, company researchers isolated the penicillin nucleus 6-aminopenicillanic acid (6-APA); this discovery allowed the synthesis of a number of new semisynthetic penicillins. In 1959, Beecham marketed Broxil (phenethicillin), followed shortly by Celbenin (methicillin), which is active against "Staphylococcus aureus". In 1961, Penbritin (ampicillin) hit the market, and soon Beecham's facilities were inadequate for the worldwide demand. A 35-acre complex at Worthing came on line in the early 1960s to produce 6-APA, the base for semisynthetic penicillins.

In 1972, Beecham launched Amoxil, which went on to become one of the most widely prescribed antibiotics. In 1981, Augmentin, an antibiotic used to treat an array of bacterial infections, was introduced.

In 1986 the Beecham Group sold its numerous soft drink brands including Tango, Top Deck, Corona, Quosh (drink), as well as the UK franchises for Coca-Cola and 7 Up, to Britvic [ [] Carbonated drinks: a report on the supply by manufacturers of carbonated drinks in the United Kingdom, Chapter 8 para 8.51] .

In 1989, The Beecham Group plc and SmithKline Beckman merged to form SmithKline Beecham plc. In 2001, SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome merged to form GlaxoSmithKline.

Products / Brands

*Beecham's Pills
*Beechams Powders
* Pollinex
*clavulanic acid


[ Reading University (pdf)]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of pharmaceutical compound number prefix — This list of pharmaceutical compound number prefixes details a drug labeling standard. Pharmaceutical companies produce a large number of compounds. The compounds are systematically numbered, such as CP 529414 (for the recently failed Pfizer… …   Wikipedia

  • Diversified Pharmaceutical Services — entered the market in 1976 as the pharmacy benefit manager for United HealthCare (now United HealthGroup), a leading national managed care organization. Diversified pioneered many cost containment strategies that are now core PBM services and… …   Wikipedia

  • St Helens, Merseyside — For the larger local government district, see Metropolitan Borough of St Helens. Coordinates: 53°27′15″N 2°44′46″W / 53.4541°N 2.7461°W …   Wikipedia

  • GlaxoSmithKline — Infobox Company | company name = GlaxoSmithKline company company type = Public (lse|GSK nyse|GSK) company slogan = Do more, feel better, live longer foundation = 2000, by merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham location = flagicon|UK… …   Wikipedia

  • King Pharmaceuticals — Infobox Company | company name = King Pharmaceuticals| company company type = Public (nyse|KG) foundation = 1994 location = Bristol, Tennessee, USA key people = Brian Markison, CEO Joseph Squicciarino, CFO Eric J. Bruce, CTO num employees = 2,050 …   Wikipedia

  • Cephalon — For information about the head portion in arthropod anatomy, see cephalon (arthropod head). Cephalon, Inc. Type Subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Industry Biotechnology, Biopharmaceutical Founded 1987 Headqu …   Wikipedia

  • Bayer — For other uses, see Bayer (disambiguation) or Beyer or buyer. Infobox Company company name = Bayer AG company company type = Public (FWB|BAY, tyo|4863) foundation = 1863 company slogan = Science for a Better Life location = Leverkusen, Germany… …   Wikipedia

  • Antidepressant — Fluoxetine (Prozac), an SSRI The chemical structure of …   Wikipedia

  • Calendar of 2000 — ▪ 2001 January We are fortunate to be alive at this moment in history. Never before has our nation enjoyed, at once, so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats. Never before have we had such… …   Universalium

  • GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan — is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan and the it s the world s second largest company with high ranking stands for Employee Cares.GSK Pakistan equation was formed when Beecham, Glaxo Welcome and Smith Kline, all having a big… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.